Motorcycle Trip Across America 1st Adventure For Retired Fire Chief

DUXBURY — After 44 years in the fire service, Kevin Nord felt ready to retire, “to melt into my helmet a bit and have some time for myself.”

When Nord, 62, resigned as Duxbury fire chief in July, he knew he was still young and healthy enough to pursue a dream. He also knew what was “at the top of my to-do list.”

On Tuesday, August 16, Nord will set off on his KTM 890 Adventure R, an on- and off-road motorcycle, for a cross-country trek – to Tennessee and North Carolina, then west to Oregon. and back.

It will follow the TransAmerica Trail, described as “the cross-country adventure hike of a lifetime with mostly off-road travel.” Reaching Oregon will take about four weeks. Back home, he’ll be traveling the highways in a week.

Retired Duxbury Fire Chief Kevin Nord prepares to ride his motorcycle, a dual-sport motorcycle, across the United States from North Carolina to Oregon.

“I think I have maybe 10 good years left of driving and now is the time to go,” Nord said. “I want to get out and try new things while I still can, and adventure riding is one of them.”

He said he has seen others retire and then have health issues that cut short their dreams. Upon his return, he plans to teach fire instruction and health and safety training courses in the region and state.

Nord leaves with the blessing of her family. His 28-year-old wife, Mary, was skeptical and worried at first, but knew his skill level and what it meant to him. His three daughters – Jessica, in Florida, and Caitlin and Caroline at home – and his son, Josh, from Quincy, have overcome their worries and “might even wish they could come with me”.

Retired Duxbury Fire Chief Kevin Nord prepares to ride his motorcycle, a dual-sport motorcycle, across the United States from North Carolina to Oregon.

Respect for his age inspired him.

“You become aware of the demands that riding puts on the body; it gets a little weaker, obviously, and you can’t bounce back as much as you used to,” he said. “I still feel quite young and healthy and I hope to achieve that. Travel has always fascinated me a lot and when my wife retires we will be able to take more typical trips abroad.”

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Mary Nord is a secretary in the oncology department at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Plymouth.

Nord said he loves riding a motorcycle because of “the freedom. Being in nature, being able to smell the smells, seeing the sights, going where you’ve been when you want, stopping when you want.”

A few years ago, in the series “Long Way Round”, British actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman broadcast their world tour on a motorcycle. This “hooked” him to return to off-road riding.

Retired Duxbury Fire Chief Kevin Nord prepares to ride his motorcycle, a dual-sport motorcycle, across the United States from North Carolina to Oregon.

Dual sport riding requires a lot of weight when standing and moving; to prepare, he does daily flexibility exercises and yoga stretches for his knees and hips. He also tests different weight loads on his bike of all of his supplies, including cooking utensils, food, toiletries, water purification system, clothes, bedding, water and laundry. food.

He won’t forget the pepper spray.

Retired Duxbury Fire Chief Kevin Nord had stickers created for friends and colleagues to follow his motorcycle ride across America in August 2022 with his Instagram address at the bottom.  He will file daily reports.

Traveling alone, he looks forward to impromptu conversations with the hundreds of other people in Jeeps, motorcycles, ATVs and even bicycles on the TransAmerica Trail. For medical needs or emergencies, he relies on his own paramedic training and also on “the natural human spirit that helps you”.

His wife insists he bring a Garmin inReach satellite communicator with SOS button.

Growing up in Scituate, Nord absorbed the ideals of public service from her father, Peter, a high school English teacher. As a teenager, he was “a bubbly” who enjoyed hanging around the fire station. After graduating from Scituate High School in 1977, he married, moved to Kingston and became a call-in firefighter. In 1978, he was hired full-time by the Kingston Fire Department, where he remained for 26 years. In the late 1980s, he trained as a paramedic.

Kevin Nord as a firefighter in Kingston in the 1980s.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do – do more for patients,” he said. “The fire department was the best way to help people other than teaching or law enforcement, and I had an interest in medical. You take people to the hospital and you want do whatever you can for them along the way.”

He is promoted to captain in Kingston, in charge of a shift.

A few days after the September 11, 2001 attacks, he spent a week at Ground Zero in New York as a peer support counselor through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

In 2004, Duxbury hired Nord as fire chief. He stayed for 18 years, signing a two-year contract renewal in 2020 so that a succession plan could be drawn up. He was fortunate to achieve his goals, transitioning to advanced life support and leading the development of the former colony’s regional emergency communications center.

He has served on the Governor’s Council on Technical Rescue as President of the Plymouth County Fire & Rescue Training Association and as Duxbury’s Fire Chief/Emergency Management Director.

Retired Duxbury Fire Chief Kevin Nord prepares to ride his motorcycle, a dual-sport motorcycle, across the United States from North Carolina to Oregon.

As a paramedic, Nord was most influenced by the compassion he saw in others.

“You have to feel, you have to touch, you have to understand people’s stories and make diagnoses,” he said. “And the people around me – the other paramedics, the medical staff at the hospital – it was the joy of work, the joy of helping others.

“You’ve got the bad calls from trauma, then you’ve got the good calls from medical emergencies – breathing treatments for people with bad asthma who can’t breathe and then they can, help for diabetics, l ‘reversal of seizures, cardiac incidents where they are in immense pain and you are giving them medication that lessens that pain and contributes to a better outcome.’

When he moved into administration, he felt that “my job was to give everyone, my peers and my mentors, the tools they need to succeed – whether it’s the ones I had developed or maybe the ones I didn’t have yet”.

Duxbury Fire Chief Kevin Nord talks about a gas explosion in 2015. In 2001, when he was a firefighter, he went to zero to provide peer support for rescuers.

He took fire administration and business courses at Massasoit College, Salem State University and Bridgewater State University, and earned his business degree from Curry College in Milton in 2008.

As he begins his adventure, Nord is especially grateful for the support of his family.

“It would be easy for them to say ‘No, you don’t do that,'” he said.

And once back home, his billiard blue Harley-Davidson Street Glide bike will be waiting for him.

Contact Sue Scheible at [email protected]

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